Sep 17 9:00 PM

'The System' of big-time college football

A view of the crowd at Autzen Stadium during the third quarter of the college football game between Oregon and Tennessee in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday.
AP Photo/Steve Dykes

A week following the Sports Illustrated investigation on the alleged misgivings behind the rise of Oklahoma State's football program, a new book pulls back the curtain to see what drives the people, schools and communities involved in major college football programs.

Today is the release of Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict's "The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football." (Full disclosure: I was the book's lead researcher and wrote a chapter.)

With college athletics facing a range of questions about health concerns and whether to compensate student-athletes, "The System" helps to crystallize some of the biggest issues the NCAA is facing, specifically in college football.

“I fear for college football,” Keteyian told The New York Times. “It’s a runaway train.”

With the release of the book, America Tonight explores some of the most noteworthy numbers on the state of college football. (All of the data and information listed below is mentioned and cited in "The System.")


The average amount spent by schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision on a single student-athlete, according to the 2012 study "Academic Spending Versus Athletic Spending: Who Wins?" from the Delta Cost Project at American Institutes for Research. The study, which is based on 2010 data from public institutions, found that the Southeastern Conference spends an average of $163,931 per student-athlete, more than 12 times the average amount colleges spend on a regular student. All of the major BCS conferences, including the now-defunct Big East, averaged more than $100,000 spent per student-athlete.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel rushes for a gain against Alabama during the first quarter of their game on Saturday.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip


The average amount spent by FBS schools on a single student, according to the same Delta Cost Project study. 

Students walking on a college campus in October 2011.
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews


Reported season-ending injuries among eight BCS conferences and independents between Jan. 1, 2012, and Jan. 7, 2013, the day of the BCS championship game. The SEC led all conferences with 46 season-ending injuries, followed by the Pac-12 with 44. Serious knee injuries were most common, with at least 93 reported in 2012.

Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint is carted off the field by paramedics after getting injured in the first quarter of a game against Iowa on Nov. 17, 2012.
AP Photo/Tony Ding


Reported instances of players on BCS teams who were arrested in 2012 -- an average of 16 per month. The SEC led all conferences in arrests with 42, followed by the Big 12 with 37. Fewer than a quarter of the 197 arrests resulted in players being kicked off their teams. Only one player was arrested more than once and wasn't dismissed from his team or suspended for at least a game. Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. Wilder has been arrested three times, and has yet to miss a game. He has played in both Florida State games this season.

Florida State Seminoles running back James Wilder Jr. rushes during game against University of Maryland Terrapins in November 2012.
AP Photo/Tomasso Derosa


The hourly wage made by Lacey Pearl Earps as a student assistant helping with recruiting for the University of Tennessee's football program in 2008. Earps, then the captain of the Orange Pride hostess program, was nicknamed "The Closer" for her ability to persuade high school recruits to come to Tennessee. In December 2009, Earps was at the center of an NCAA investigation based on Tennessee's recruiting tactics. Later, Tennessee was hit with a slew of violations. But the damage had been done to Earps' reputation. "This may sound silly," she said in "The System," "but my experience with the Orange Pride really altered the way I thought of the university. And it altered it in a bad way. People there were crazy about sports. The reputation that Tennessee built was to bleed orange through and through. Integrity. Tradition. So when you get there and you're in it, the people that work there every day could care less about the colors they represent. It comes down to what's going to bring in the money."

Lacey Pearl Earps, right, is shown with Bryce Brown, a former University of Tennessee recruit.
Clay Travis

$248 million

The amount donated by T. Boone Pickens, CEO of a Dallas hedge fund, to Oklahoma State's athletics department between 2003 and 2008. The gifts produced a number of new facilities, including a new baseball stadium, various outdoor fields and a multipurpose indoor practice complex. In the recent Sports Illustrated investigation on the university's football program, Pickens was not implicated in any wrongdoing.

T. Boone Pickens, right, and Head Coach Mike Gundy look over a row of lockers, including one for Pickens, in a new Oklahoma State football locker room in August 2009.
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki


The number of sentences written to Mike Leach to notify him that he was relieved of his duties as Texas Tech's head coach in late 2009. Leach, now the head coach at Washington State, was fired after school officials questioned his handling of the safety and welfare of player Adam James

Dear Coach Leach,

This letter shall serve as formal notice to you that, pursuant to Article V of your Employment Contract, you are terminated with cause effective immediately, for breach of provisions of Article IV of that Contract.

Then-Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach hoists guns up to the crowd as he leaves the field after a November 2009 game.
AP Photo/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Geoffrey McAllister


The settlement paid to Rachel Arena by the University of Texas amid sexual-harassment charges against Cleve Bryant, then the director of football operations. Bryant, who was given the nickname "old-freak-nasty" by another woman involved in the investigation, was accused of, among other things, pulling down the top of Arena's dress and bra and fondling her breast. In "The System," Bryant denied the allegations. "I'm guilty of a lot of [stuff]," he said in the book. "But I'm not guilty of this."

Texas head football coach Mack Brown, right, recovering from knee surgery, sits with Cleve Bryant, left, as he directs from a cart during a scrimmage in August 2006.
AP Photo/Harry Cabluck


What perennial football power Louisiana State University paid Towson College to play them in September 2012. The amount paid to Towson, which is part of the NCAA's second-tier Football Championship Subdivision, was a school record, amounting to 25 percent of their annual football budget. 

Towson wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard catches a touchdown pass against LSU cornerback Jalen Mills in September 2012.
AP Photo/Bill Haber

39 percent

The percentage spike in the University of Alabama's athletic department revenue since Nick Saban became the football coach. In 2007, the annual revenue was $90 million. For the 2011-12 season? Try $125 million. Saban and the Crimson Tide are still at No. 1 in the polls, looking for a fourth national title in five years.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban reacts on the sideline during Saturday's game.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

$1.7 million

The total amount in an insurance policy that was taken out by Marcus Lattimore and his family while Lattimore was still at the University of South Carolina. The family paid between $5,000 to $15,000 for the policy, which covered any future projected earnings if Lattimore could not make it back onto the field. Last October, Lattimore suffered a serious knee injury that many thought would end his career. "All I could do was pray," Lattimore told "The System." "Pray that everything was going to be okay." Lattimore is still rehabbing, but he will have a shot at the NFL after being drafted in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers.

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore grabs his right knee after getting hit by Tennessee's Eric Gordon in October 2012.
AP Photo/Richard Shiro, File


What was allegedly offered to star recruit Ricky Seals-Jones and his family by "people" representing a power program in late June 2012, according to a source in "The System" with "direct knowledge of the conversation." Aside from the cash, the offer included use of a luxury suite during the season, $1,000 a month for Seals-Jones, $500 a month for his family, and a total of eight season tickets. Chester Jones, Seals-Jones' father, denied that the school in question made the offer to Seals-Jones.

Ricky Seals-Jones (89), of Sealy High School, and Kendall Fuller (05), of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Md., compete for a pass in the second half of the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football game in January.
AP Photo/San Antonio Express-News, Kin Man Hui



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